- The metallic wires form the design and needle and thread are employed merely to sew the elements on to the fabric. Laid-stitch, backstitch,
- Zardozi is to be worked in two distinct styles. The first, karchobi, is distinguished by the density of its stitches on a heavy base material such as velvet or satin.
(IIP) - THE NAME ZARDOZI,like the craft itself,is of Persian origin.Although it literally means gold-work,the term refers to the use of gold,silver metal wires,cords,purls and sequins,which are couched (by sewing) on expensive fabrics.It was probably brought to India by the Mughals and was used to make costumes of the members of court, wall hangings,the sidewalls of the royal tents and the trappings of the elephants and horses used by the emperor.During Aurangzeb`s region,royal patronage to artists and craftsmen ceased and the royal ateliers were shut down.Consequently,many craftsmen migrated to the neighbouring kingdoms of Rajasthan,Punjab and Gujarat to look for new patrons.The advent of industrialization adversely affected the craft and it was gradually dying out when concerted efforts to revive it begun.Today,the fashion and garment export industry make extensive use of zardozi to embellish their products;the large demand for this form of embroidery has led to the replacement of the needle used for couching with an ari or hooked needle.
The magnificence of the work was further enhanced by sewing studded pearls and precious stones to the cloth. The work was initially done using pure silver wires and real gold leaves. However, in the modern times, the work is done by using the combination of copper wire with a golden or silver polish and silk thread due to the high costs associated with pure silver and gold.
Today it is popular in the Indian cities of Lucknow, Farrukhabad, Chennai and Bhopal. The zardozi products manufactured in Lucknow and its surrounding six districts of Barabanki, Unnao, Sitapur, Rae Bareli, Hardoi and Amethi became a brand and now carry a registered logo to confirm their authenticity
Two forms of Zardozi are practiced;the zardosa-elaborate work done on products like heavy coats,cushions,curtains,animal trappings and shoes with heavy silk,velvet or satin as base fabrics;and the kamdani-lighter needle work done on lightweight materials that are used as scarves.
Zardozi is to be worked in two distinct styles. The first, karchobi, is distinguished by the density of its stitches on a heavy base material such as velvet or satin. It is usually seen on garments like coats, tent coverings, furnishing and canopies. The second is kamdani, the lighter, more delicate work, which is well-known in Rajasthan. Kamdani adorns elegant fabrics like silk and muslin. Although this kind of work is considered to be most suitable for scarves and veils, these days it is most visible on bridal wear in India.
The design is first outlined on the fabric and mixed metallic wires and shapes are spread out on it. The motifs used by the embroiderers in Rajasthan are inspired from different shapes and sizes of gold and silver wires and discs. The badla, a flat wire with a thread base, the salmais coiled and springy, while the dabka is a thin tightly coiled wire. Asitara is a tiny ring of metal that resembles a star, gijai is a circular, thin stiff wire and the tilla is a flat metal wire. Sequins and colored beetle wings are also often used. The most expensive and ostentatious examples of zardozi include semi-precious stones and pearls.
The metallic wires form the design and needle and thread are employed merely to sew the elements on to the fabric. Laid-stitch, backstitch, couching chain stitch, running stitch and satin stitch are also employed in these exquisite embroideries. Zardozi usually features geometric shapes along with floral designs.
Zardozi embroidery patterns include circles and triangles into margins, creating a body of flowers. Borders often feature triangular forms with finely wrought floral scrolls. The corners are adorned with Hindu mantras, a floral spray or peacocks. The field is filled with sprays, flower buds and animal figures, especially in the karchobi style. Another elegant feature is the delicate jaali (net) on some parts of the fabric. Currently, zardozi is being extensively used on urban clothing not only in Rajasthan or Uttar Pradesh, but all over India. The assimilation of this age-old craft into urban life has ensured its permanence and reputation.
Persian zardozi is of three kinds:
Some people completely sew the basic fabric with Bakhie in order to produce novel patterns and colors, such as the Baloch's Souzan-douzi, Rasht's Qollab-douzi and Kerman's Pate-douzi.
Some sew with less density of work on the original fabric. They cross the strings throughout the woof of the fabric and sew them to each other to form a colorfully patterned lattice, such as sekke-douzi or qollab-douzi in Isfahan.
A third way is to sew a variety of patterns on the original fabric with gold and silver strings, such as Dah-Yek-Douzi (Persian, Naqade-douzi,Tafte-douzi, Kous-douziZari-douzi or Golabatoun-douzi